Vidya Bhushan

Co-founder & COO, Daalchini Technologies

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How New-Age Technologies Have Been Revolutionizing The F&B Industry?

F&B product manufacturers have now moved on to alternative biodegradable and plastic-free solutions along with an innovative packaging system like edible packaging, micro packaging and bacteria-fighting packaging helping in maintaining and increasing the shelf life of the products and thus reducing wastages because of expiry.

Technology has been a fundamental driver of many developments in the F&B business in recent years, and it has had a good impact on every aspect of the sector - it is unquestionably altering the food and beverage industry for the better. It provides consumers with the maximum convenience they seek whether dining out or ordering food to be delivered to their door, as well as assisting restaurateurs in achieving their goals, satisfying the needs of the ever changing consumer behaviour in the modern era.

In terms of transparency, today's consumers want to know not only where a brand's product, ingredients, and other ingredients come from, but also how the product was manufactured, how it arrived, and the assurance of quality. Technology is important throughout a product's lifecycle, and expressing it in a clear manner is essential for brand loyalty and word of mouth. Same as any other sector, players of the F&B industry have also adopted technology at all levels starting from food preparation, packaging, and supply chain to retailing and till it reaches to the consumer.

There's no denying that the food and beverage industry's dynamics have shifted in recent years and also the industry has been adopting and innovating since the lockdown was lifted to keep up with the rapidly changing consumer behaviour in the post COVID era. The industry has grown more customer-focused, open, and technologically advanced.

Technology in Food Preparation: Robotic Machine and Digitalization are the key players

Food is one of the most basic human necessities, and people have devised numerous methods for preparing and customizing food from ancient times to the present day. Our lifestyle has clearly improved as a result of the improvement, since we now have more time to accomplish more useful activities.

Food preparation used to be quite time consuming, but with the growth of human understanding and technology, men have devised a plethora of gadgets and new techniques to make food preparation much easier. The advanced technologies like robotic machines, IoT and High-end machines are helping people follow predefined instructions, finalizing portions of recipes for preparing different types of cuisines in no time. Since end-to -end processes are curated and automated, it ensures the standardized quality of food, gives scalability to the operation, brings efficiency and minimizes human intervention.

Another positive outcome that technology brought in the F&B industry is Frozen Food. Freezing is a well-established food preservation method that results in high-quality, nutritious meals with an extended shelf life. These are extremely convenient because they do not require any cleaning, dicing, chopping, or squeezing. These ready-to-cook goods are already fully/partially prepared and require only thawing, heating, and serving. In addition to convenience and sustainability, the maintainability of nutrients is the reason for the rising demand for frozen food even among health conscious customers.

Technology in Packaging and Supply chain

Having healthy and sustainable food products is one of the top concerns for customers right now. F&B brands can no longer get away with much when it comes to labelling and dangerous substances, especially with the advent of social media. Many businesses are turning to technology to help them "go green”. Companies in the food business are able to identify alternatives to plastic by utilising robots and digitization.

F&B product manufacturers have now moved on to alternative biodegradable and plastic-free solutions along with an innovative packaging system like edible packaging, micro packaging and bacteria-fighting packaging helping in maintaining and increasing the shelf life of the products and thus reducing wastages because of expiry.

Drones and autonomous vehicles to deliver food at designated areas: The logistics industry's traditional backbone has been road transport. The disadvantages of old approaches are becoming increasingly obvious as metropolitan cities become more congested and it is already difficult to reach rural locations with no road infrastructure. This is where technologically advanced delivery drones or unmanned aerial vehicles come into picture carrying or delivering products to designated locations to cut down on the delivery time of packages which are to be delivered.

Technology in F&B Retailing

Businesses must adjust, reset, and refresh themselves to meet the world's new expectations and to be even stronger for the future in order to keep up with quickly changing consumer behaviour. It is critical for businesses to view this technological shift as a chance to expand. With India's rapid digitalization, the concept of unmanned retail is gaining steam, with the modern retail scene shifting toward automated retailing, allowing each consumer to receive a personalised experience with little human interaction. Smart vending machines are an important part of unmanned automated retailing and are growing in popularity in India hence reshaping the retail and F&B sector.

Smart vending machines plays an important role in this transformation by offering a new way to deliver products to customers that combines a physical presence with online-level convenience. Vending machines have evolved into a condensed, constantly available store, providing consumers with a convenient option for stores to transition from a typical retail model to a product display in a short period of time. Rather than being only a location for the actual handling and exchange of things, stores have grown into places that provide customers with an experience. They've succeeded in bringing retail closer to customers. The urge to bring products from a store into an environment where the consumer lives, works, and plays has always been the driving force behind vending machines.

Along with the adoption of smart vending machines, F&B companies have also adopted the idea of Just walk out technology-based Self Shop for true grab and go to allow consumers to walk in and pick up the goods and move out. Amazon pioneered ‘Just walk out technology’ by using a combination of AI, computer vision, advanced sensors and cameras and RFIDs. The virus has given reason to avoid human contact and it has led to the adoption of self-checkout as never before. The brands have started to pick up this technology to meet the changing needs and shopping habits of consumers.

The Bottom Line:

As we have moved further in the digital era, broadening its horizons, more technological innovations are emerging to help shape the F&B industry’s future. With the significant shake-ups witnessed over the last couple of years, the sector has shifted increasingly from imitation to innovation. The technology is here to stay and will definitely revolutionize the future of the F & B sector forever.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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